The local beer community got some very sad news this past weekend. Greg Fretz, co-founder of Phoenix Ale Brewery, has passed away after a battle with throat cancer.
Fretz was a very influential figure in the local beer scene and, by all accounts, he was a genuinely great guy. He will be missed by very many people here. The community will miss him but it was better for having had him be a part of it.
Our thoughts our with his family. They have set up a fund to help them get through this difficult time:
He kind of looks like a creepy, rapist Friar Tuck
I recently read a review from some seemingly nice fellows about The Hungry Monk in Chandler. They extolled the virtues of its beer list, the convenience of its location with regard to proximity of other craft beer hotspots (specifically San Tan Brewery and Whole Foods) and mentioned they loved the wings…
…the boneless wings.
I have to give credit to these guys though, The Brew Bros [Editor's Note: Why can't we have a catchy name like that? The Wing Warriors? The Imbibing Idiots? The Drink....Drinkers?], they seem pretty legit in their knowledge of craft beer. They’ve got interviews with San Tan Brewery and reviews of out-of-state breweries, whereas all we have to show for our dedication to the craft is getting drunk at a beer fest and getting drunker at a different beer fest. Then again, we also spent a lot of our time narrowing down the exact science that is the art form of the buffalo wing, so we’re not completely useless. And since The Hungry Monk has developed a reputation for both their craft beer list and their wings, what better place to expand our beer repertoire (read: drink more beer and act like we’re doing it for science)?
The folks that run Wingstock recently referred to us as the Phoenix wing experts. Pretty quick after that someone let us know they did not feel the same. Their reason being that we think Native New Yorker is one of the worst wing places (we don’t actually, we consider them pretty average) and we should have them ranked number one because they are the most popular and therefore they are the best.
While their appeal to popularity argument may be a fallacy it does bring up an interesting question: Are we out of touch with the average Phoenix wing eater?
To be fair, our own views on the best wings have changed a lot as we toured the Valley going to every dive bar, pizza joint, and wing spot we could find. Native New Yorker was actually my regular go-to place before we began all of this.
I have to believe, though, that most people would have a similar experience as I did and they are picking Native New Yorker as their favorite because they haven’t been exposed to better wings rather than because they have tried them all and they hold Native up as truly the best. Native New Yorker wings are not terrible, and if you are comparing them to Buffalo Wild Wings or a similar chain they are going to look pretty damn good. They just can’t hold their own with the best of local hot wings. You know, like how Pizza Hut would look pretty damn good when compared with a Totino’s frozen pizza but it isn’t going to fare very well if you compare it with Pizzeria Bianco.
This is from the event’s Facebook page. It about says it all.
Better late than never, right? With all the changes happening both to the site (redesign might be coming soon!) and to our lives (apparently you need money to do this stuff on a consistent basis without sponsors), things have been rather chaotic in the last few months. Our posts have become more sparse and so when we ARE able to attend an event like this beer fest, we have to be choosy because money doesn’t grow in my backyard after trying to plant cut-up dollar bills into a Topsy-Turvy I got from the Dollar Store for literally a dollar, which may or may not have happened (it did happen).
That being said, we did make it out to an event about a month ago that I’m just now writing the article for. A combination of waiting for the pics, not having internet for a while, and then switching jobs has wreaked havoc on my ability to write an article, but it’s not like I would have remembered the details if I had written it the next day anyway. This beer fest did a number on us, to say the least.
This particular craft beer fest took place on a cold and blustery March day. It was March 9th, and I’m fairly certain that I waxed poetic about the aptness of it being a rainy day on the anniversary of the death of Notorious B.I.G. drunkenly to many a folk that day. If I didn’t, you’re welcome…that could have gotten bad. Flanigan Entertainment was putting on this particular event, and are apparently also responsible for a “Beat The Heat Winter Fest” that I had no idea existed.
- Giant Chicken Man preps for his new movie deal with Marvel
On March 30th, restaurants from all around the valley will gather to compete in this year’s annual Wingstock Festival. We wrote all about last year’s event, and how much fun we had there.
Games and attractions for the kids will be present (I think there’s a jumping castle. I also think you might find one of us sleeping in there, drunkenly). Live music will be played all day, and Mesa’s own Desert Eagle Brewing will be serving beer at the event. Gates open at 11am and it runs until 5pm. Admission is $5 in advance, $7 at the gate, and you can buy wing tickets inside. 1 ticket = 1 wing, so we recommend you buy…ohhhh, I don’t know…50 tickets a person.
You will also be able to vote for your favorite wing of the day, so please help correct the awful mistake from last year and don’t let Native New Yorker win again. That was a travesty and it insulted our wing-loving hearts. The Reef (formerly Draft House on the Reef) will be there, and they’re awesome, so check that out.
An ATL Wings restaurant will be there, but there’s some controversy over just which one it is. There’s ATL Wings (on Warner Rd) that we reviewed and LOVED. But there’s also an ATL Wings Your Way, and there’s apparently some bad blood between the two. Just which one will show up?
Get your asses over there and eat some wings and support this festival. It’s like our Christmas. AND VOTE FOR THE RIGHT WINGS.
Pictured: Me, just after leaving Flancer’s.
I have a confession to make. It’s not an easy one and I’ve wrestled with it for the entirety of this website’s existence, but I feel like if I’m ever going to be able to move on with my life I just have to face it head-on. Here goes:
I can only eat the super-hot wings if I douse them in enough ranch to fill up a kiddie-sized (or Danny DeVito-sized) swimming pool.
It’s an earth-shattering revelation for someone as revered in the hot wing community as myself [Editor's Note: There isn't a hot wing community. He's a dick.]. Reviewing hot wings means you have to be able to handle something beyond mild, and that’s not a problem for me. I know a lot of people out there give us crap for always wanting to push the heat limit because they don’t quite have the same tolerance we do, and I totally get it; not everyone is a heat-freak. It’s fine and I’ve said so before, but now that you know I can only ever reach the upper-echelon heat with assistance from Mister Buttermilk and the Dairy-Doos (it’s a real band, look them up) [Editor's Note: It's not a real band, don't waste your time. He's a dick.] how can you ever take me seriously?
Keegan’s Grill in Chandler (Photo credit: Google +)
You don’t always get what you expect. For example, I didn’t expect to be sick for 3 weeks. I didn’t expect to miss the Phoenix Invitational Brewers Festival because I was sick. And I certainly didn’t expect it to be two and a half months since our last review that was focused mostly on wings.
These types of things tend to happen when you least expect them and sometimes there is not much you can really do about it. In this case, I had been wingless for weeks. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the doctor had told me I wasn’t sick I was just suffering with wing withdrawal. That would be if I had gone to a doctor, like a wimp. (Fine I went to the stupid doctor, shut up.)
As soon as we got a chance we picked a night we could go out and we picked a place that had a good reputation for wings. We picked another place randomly at first but the place didn’t have enough reviews saying the wings were good for us to visit it this time. We wanted something that sounded very reliable to deliver the wings we were craving. It had been long enough that we were not screwing around. So, based on some personal recommendations, and several good online reviews, we picked Keegans Grill & Taproom.
You poor baby, you’re bone dry. Let’s get some life-liquid in you.
We’re beer snobs…err…reviewers now, right? And as beer house reviewers, if there’s a festival that has 61 breweries participating in an outdoor event on a warm and sunny December day in downtown Phoenix, well I suppose it’s just our awful and terrible duty to find a way to cover it, right? Right. Right as shit.
The Phoenix Invitational Brewers Festival (PHX BrewFest) took place on December 7th and 8th in Heritage Square in Phoenix. Organized by Greg Fretz of the Phoenix Ale Brewery (and namesake of Fretzy’s Unfiltered Ale), it was a weekend scheduled specifically for craft brew enthusiasts. We wanted to check out both Friday and Saturday but we had a rather large prior engagement to attend to on Friday. As well, Tyler was extremely under the weather basically since the last time the Cardinals won a game so it was up to me to suffer through this terrible task of drinking delicious beer on a gorgeous day.
Being relatively unprepared for this event (we honestly didn’t even plan to cover it until the very last minute), the pictures and notes I have are mostly scattered and as you can imagine would be the case with a beer festival, the later the day got, the more scattered my thoughts got.
If you don’t get the reference…let’s face it, no one got that reference.
We’re finally back from hiatus! Oh, PS, we were on hiatus. Did we forget to tell you? Did you care? You know you didn’t care.
Anyway, it’s December, we’re two family-oriented jerks, so things get hectic. But we’re back and ready to put up some new reviews. This week we’ll be touching on the Phoenix Brewer’s Invitational, an event that happened in Heritage Square a couple of weekends ago, and then we’ll be turning back to a wing review of Keegan’s Bar and Grill.
Let us know if you have any beer or wing recommendations, we’re ready to get back into the swing of things!
After we made the decision to cover beer-centered places like breweries and ale houses in addition to our usual piles of hot wings at all the local dives we have visited some pretty great places and enjoyed quite a few incredible beers. From local favorites at Four Peaks to some really high quality stuff from Angel Trumpet, we have had a good run of it so far. I think we [read: Xavvi] have a good knack from finding interesting local places to get some great local and craft beers. If anything has been lacking in our write-ups so far it may be a deeper understanding of what makes a great beer great.
I do feel like we have a pretty taste for good, high quality beers but we aren’t great at explaining why they are good or describing their taste in any extensive detail. So far, we have covered up for any gaps in our knowledge with heavy use of subjective opinions and spending a lot of time describing the places overall instead of focusing only on the beers.
Still, while we have been lucky enough to visit some really cool places to grab some brews and share the experiences with you guys I figured it would still be nice to get a little better understanding of beer in general and some of the specific styles we have come across frequently. Maybe we could even start sounding like we half-way know what we are talking about. I mean, this certainly isn’t going to make me a beer scholar overnight or anything but I think it helps that we are putting in the effort to better our beer knowledge.